« AnteriorContinuar »
Within her chamber, when the day is fled,
Makes poore her garments to enrich her bed :
First, puts she off her lilly-silken gowne,
That shrikes for sorrow as she layes it downe;
And with her armes graceth a wast-coate fine,
Imbracing her as it would ne'er untwine.
Her flexen haire insharing all beholders,
She next permits to wave about her shoulders,
And though she caste it backe, the silken slips
Still forward steale, and hang upon her lips :
Whereat she, sweetly angry with her laces,
up the wanton lockes in curious traces,
Whilst (twisting with her joynts) each haire long lingers,
As loth to be inchain'd, but with her fingers.
Then on her head a dressing like a crowne ;
her kirtle slipping downe,
And all things off (which rightly ever be,
Call'd the foule-faire markes of our miserie)
Except her last; which enviously doth seize her,
Least any eye partake with it in pleasure,
Prepares for sweetest rest, while Silvans greet her,
And lovingly) the downe-bed swels to meet her:
So by degrees"
“ As I have seene when on the brest of Thames
A heavenly beavy of sweet English dames,
In some calme ev'ning of delightfull May,
With musicke give a farewell to the day,
Or as they would (with an admired tone)
Greet Night's ascension to her ebon throne,
Rapt with their melodie, a thousand more
Run to be wafted from the bounding shore:
So ran the shepheards, and with hasty feet
Strove which should first increase that happy fleet."
In the following long extract, which we should quote at yet greater length, did we not fear the accumulating nature of the pleasing task of selection, he eulogizes and characterises his contemporary brothers in the art, dwelling chiefly on Sidney and his Arcadia, which is the subject of another article of this number.
“ Ere their arrivall, Astrophel had done
His shepherd's lay, yet equaliz'd of none.
Th' admired mirrour, glory of our isle,
Thou farre-farre-more than mortall man, whose stile
Stroke more men dumbe to harken' to thy song,
Than Orpheus' harpe, or Tully's golden tongue.
To him (as right) for wit's deepe quintessence,
For honour, value, virtue, excellence,
Be all the garlands, crowne his tombe with ba
Who spake as much as e’er our tongue can say.
Happy Arcadia! while such lovely straines
Sung of thy vallyes, rivers, hills, and plaines ;
Yet most unhappy other joyes among,
That never heard'st his musicke nor his song.
Deafe men are happy so, whose vertues' praise
(Unheard of them) are sung in tunefull layes.
And pardon me, ye sisters of the mountaine,
Who wayle his losse from the Pegasian fountaine,
If (like a man for portraiture unable)
I set my pencill to Apelles' table;
Or dare to draw his curtaine, with a will
To shew his true worth, when the artist's skill
Within that curtaine fully doth expresse,
His owne art's-mastry, my unablenesse.
He sweetly touched, what I harshly hit,
Yet thus I glory in what I have writ;
Sidney began, (and if a wit so meane
May taste with him the dewes of Hippocrene)
sung the past'rall next; his muse, my mover :
And on the plaines full many a pensive lover
Shall sing to us their loves, and praising be,
My humble lines, the more, for praising thee.
Thus we shall live with them, by rockes, by springs,
As well as Homer by the death of kings.
Then in a straine beyond an oaten quill,
The learned shepheard of faire Hitching-hill
Sung the heroicke deeds of Greece and Troy,
In lines, so worthy life, that I imploy
My reede in vaine to overtake his fame;
All praisefull tongues doe waite upon that name,
Our second (vid, the most pleasing muse
That heav'n did e'er in mortal's braine infuse,
All-loved Draiton, in soul-raping straines,
A genuine noate, of all the nymphish traines,
Began to tune; on it all eares were hung
As sometime Dido’s on Æneas' tongue.
Jonson, whose full of merit to rehearse
Too copious is to be confinde in verse;
Yet therein only fittest to be knowne,
Could any write a line which he might owne,
One, so judicious; so well knowing; and
A man whose least worth is to understand ;
One so exact in all he doth preferre,
To able censure; for the theater
Not Seneca transcends his worth of praise;
Who writes him well shall well deserve the bayes.
Well-languag'd Danyel: Brooke, whose polisht lines
Are fittest to accomplish high designes ;
Whose pen (it seemes) still young Apollo guides ;
Worthy the forked hill for ever glides
Streames from thy braine so faire, that time shall see
Thee honor'd by thy verse, and it by thee.
And when thy temple's well deserving bayes
Might impe a pride in thee to reach thy praise,
As in a christall glasse, fill’d to the ring
With the cleare water of as cleare a spring,
A steady hand may very safely drop
Some quantitie of gold, yet o'er the top
Not force the liquor run; although before
The glasse (of water) could containe no more :
Yet so all-worthy Brooke, though all men sound
With plummets of just praise thy skill profound,
Thou in thy verse those attributes canst take
And not apparent ostentation make,
That any second can thy vertues raise,
Striving as much to hide as merit praise.
Davies and Wither, by whose muse's power
A naturall day to me seemes but an houre,
And could I ever heare their learned layes,
Ages would turne to artificiall dayes.”.
He thus apologises for being led into frequent digressions ; we quote the passage, for the fertility and richness of its expression, though employed in describing a landscape too much in the Dutch style for our tastes: the poet had been led away by his praises of the golden age and of women.
“ O what a rapture have I gotten now !
That age of gold, this of the lovely browe,
Have drawne me from my song! I onward run
(Cleane from the end to which I first begun)
But ye the heavenly creatures of the West,
In whom the vertues and the graces rest,
Pardon ! that I have run astray so long,
And grow so tedious in so rude a song,
If you yourselves should come to adde one grace
Unto a pleasant grove or such like place,
Where, here, the curious cutting of a hedge,
There in a pond, the trimming of the sedge;
Here the fine setting of well shaded trees,
The walkes there mounting up by small degrees,
The gravell and the greene so equall lye,
It, with the rest, drawes on your ling'ring eye:
Here the sweet smels that doe perfume the ayre,
Arising from the infinite repayre
Of odoriferous buds, and hearbs of price
(As if it were another paradice)
So please the smelling sence, that you are faine
Where last you walk'd to turne and walke againe.
There the small birds with their harmonious notes
Sing to a spring that smileth as she floates :
For in her face a many dimples show,
And often skips as it did dancing goe:
Here further downe an over-arched alley
That from a hill goes winding in a valley,
You spye at end thereof a standing lake
Where some ingenious artist strives to make
The water (brought in turning pipes of lead
Through birds of earth most lively fashioned)
To counterfeit and mocke the Silyans all
In singing well their owne set madrigall.
This with no small delight retaynes your eare,
And makes you think none blest but who live there.
Then in another place the fruits that be
In gallant clusters decking each good tree
Invite your hand to crop them from the stem,
And liking one, taste every sort of them:
Then to the arbors walke, then to the bowres,
Thence to the walkes againe, thence to the flowres,
Then to the birds, and to the cleare spring thence,
Now pleasing one, and then another sence:
Here one walkes oft, and yet anew begin'th,
As if it were some hidden laborinth.”
It is absolutely necessary, however, that we bring our extracts to a close, which we will do with the poet's spirited address to his native country: premising, that it is far from having been in our power to select, as we at first intended, every good passage from these poems, to which we must refer our reader if he is pleased with what we have already presented to him. We fairly give him notice, that he must arm himself with no ordinary share of patience; and in his search after mere poetical imagery or expression, expect not the way to be beguiled with one particle of interest arising from the subject or story. William Browne lived immediately after the reign of Elizabeth, and thus speaks patriotically:
“Haile thou, my native soile! thou blessed plot,
Whose equall all the world affordeth not !
Shew me who can ? so many christall rils,
Such sweet-cloath'd vallies, or aspiring hills,
Such wood-ground, pastures, quarries, wealthy mynes,
Such rockes in whom the diamond fạirely shines :
And if the earth can shew the like agen;
Yet will she faile in her sea-ruling men.
Time never can produce men to ore-take
The fames of Greenvil, Davies, Gilbert, Drake,
Or worthy Hawkins, or a thousand more
That by their powre made the Devonian shore.
Mocke the proud Tagus; for whose richest spoyle
The boasting Spaniard left the Indian soyle
Banckrupt of store, knowing it would quit cost
By winning this though all the rest were lost.”
The third of these volumes contains the Shepherd's Pipe and the Inner Temple Masque, with other smaller poems of Browne, and some complimentary, eclogues by his friends Brooke and Davies, addressed to him on the publication of the Shepherd's Pipe. The whole of this latter poem is written in a puling and "waterish vein,” except a few passages, which may claim the merit of musical versification, and nearly the whole of the fourth eclogue, which is of a higher mood. This is the author's elegy on the death of his friend, Mr. Thomas Manwood, whom he terms Philarete; from which it is supposed that Milton conceived the idea of celebrating the memory of Mr. Edward King, in a pastoral form, under the
name of Lycidas. The action, if it may be so called, of the two poems, is not unlike, and there are one or two similar sentiments : farther than this it would be absurd to push the comparison. The poem of Milton is the production of a mighty genius, such as.“ sage poets, taught by the heavenly muse, story'd of old in high immortal verse :" while all the merit the Philarete can claim is, that it is composed in a strain of natural sorrow, expressed in a